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Comment Matches my high school experience (Score 1) 564

I think it was called "Computer Studies" where I went to high school, and it was largely a waste of time. My teacher told me there wasn't any point in me showing up, and i just submitted the assignments and got an A.

The interesting stuff was part of our pure mathematics course. We were handed a simple example of how RSA encryption works and asked to encrypt/decrypt a few messages, break stuff with short keys and explain why it was infeasible at longer key lengths. That's how it should be done!

Comment Re:Yes please. (Score 1) 173

They did only seem to eliminate domestic roaming charges, and while that's appreciated it doesn't address the larger issue.

I'm kind of at a loss for why T-Mobile can't introduce an "our-network-only" roaming option. A good amount of the time when I'm in europe i never leave TMo's network, yet i still take it in the ass if i use my US sim card.

Comment I worked on it for quite a few years (Score 1) 100

In fact it's probably still the biggest project I ever got my hands on.

I think there were always some patches that weren't available without a support contract. We ended up having to hack some support into the ftp server to talk to the java authentication backend somewhere.

Still i'm undoubtedly a little sad to see the end of it.

Comment Amazon could probably deal with it... (Score 1) 377

The sales tax issue in the US is breathtaking complicated. We did an ecommerce site for a local chain that has retail locations in a few cities round here. Colorado effectively only applies sales tax if both the consumer and the business share a jurisdiction.

So that means if both and in denver then you need to collect Denver City, Denver County, Colorado State, RTD transit and a few other miscellaneous development levies. However if the business is in denver but the consumer is up in boulder, then you only need to collect Colorado State & RTD.

Unfortunately the boundaries for the different districts are absurdly complicated. I live in a small town in colorado with a single zip code and yet we have 4 different tax rates. The transit tax only applies if you are in a part of the town that was annexed after some year. I can't get the right taxes on something delivered from the other side of town.

I'm sure any sales tax offering will start with just state level taxes being collected, but counties and cities will be right behind in wanting their share. At that point Amazon will have to maintain an accounting relationship with thousands of entities, and they'll have their unfair advantage back since it'll quickly become impractical for all but the largest online retailers to play.

Comment Re:wrong OS? (Score 1) 1348

I tried for 6 hours to get my hdtv connected to my macbook and failed dismally. I've been a mac user for 24 years and it utterly let me down.

However it took about 10 seconds with a displayport to HDMI cable on my linux laptop, no configuration necessary.

Comment Re:Battery life (Score 1) 328

I use my G1 hiking on multidays hikes with maverick. In airplane mode I can get a day of hiking with occasional GPS use, though using the screen to plot out courses and things does definitely sap battery power. G1 batteries are about $7 each and super light, i don't really see the problem carrying a stack of them

The quality of maps is way better than my etrex ever did and while i'm sure the new Garmins also come with better maps, I don't see myself going back. Though I do carry my Forerunner 405cx GPS with me too

Comment Plan the dark areas around the defects (Score 2, Interesting) 362

Larger dies generally cost more because it's more likely that they'll have a defect. I haven't done any chip design since college (and even then it was really entry level stuff) but if you could break the chip down into 10 different subcomponents that need to be spaced out, you could put 100 of those components on the chip and then after manufacture you could select the blocks that perform best and are defect free, spacing your choices accordingly.

I'm pretty sure chip makers likely already

Comment Re:Some thoughts (Score 1) 467

I'm not sure i'd want any kind of backup with an immediate kill switch. I know i'm online an awful lot, but i can think of situations where i'd not have access for quite a few weeks.

Tarsnap is prepaid with paypal, so when your account balance drops to zero they'll wipe your files without any kind of additional charge.

Though I am reminded of that japanese guy who'd been dead for 20 years in his apartment because his pension was going in automatically and his rent and bills were being similarly paid.

Comment Some thoughts (Score 1) 467

On a more serious note.

1) Kill switch is unnecessary. If it's a paid service then it'll purge when you stop paying the bill

2) I've been playing with tarsnap lately and i'm pretty impressed. You use it just like tar but it uses a private key to store the results on their server. They can't see what you store and it intelligently tracks diffs so if a file appears in multiple archives you don't need to transfer or pay for it after the first time.

3) Something like mozy or jungledrive would surely be easier to use and should be able to offer a similar level of protection. Obviously you'll have to be a little cautious about who has access to your private key, but it should protect you from casual snoopers

4) Stop storing personal stuff at work

Comment Re:The bigger problem is the highschools (Score 1) 828

The majority of my programming assignments in the later undergrad years started with "choose a suitable language & platform to solve this problem".

I turned over stuff in Java, C, Assembly and I think i even found a reason to put some perl in there. I liked Linux, but you could use Windows, Solaris, IRIX and there were a few macs there towards the end.

If you are trying to select a program today, choose one that's language agnostic. Learning how to fix a y2k bug in cobol is indeed a one trick pony (maybe you'll get some work on 2038), building something that can handle errors in a data feed or rasterize 3d bezier curves will surely get you a lot further.

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Children begin by loving their parents. After a time they judge them. Rarely, if ever, do they forgive them. - Oscar Wilde